Wednesday, May 9, 2012

April Race Update

It's the beginning of May , and April and the first 3 races of the season just flew by.

My first race of the season was Galveston 70.3 on April 1st and then i just raced New orleans 70.3 ( which turned into a Duathlon ) on April 22nd, and a local SuperSprint called The Rookie Tri in Austin this last Sunday. Normally i would say that 3 weeks is really just enough time to recovery from galveston in time to taper for New orleans, but i actually was able to get some good training in between the 2 and felt ready to "try again" with some new fitness gains.

So first of all Galveston. While it wasn't the finish time outcome i wanted or was trained for, i definitely saw that race as a step in the right direction. This was the 3rd time i have done that 70.3 and the last 2 i cramped during the run and had to walk, and in turn, really beat myself up for it. This time around,i didnt cramp which is a huge victory since i raced a whole year and a half cramping every race and never thought i would ever figure it out. While i was able to manage the sodium, i didnt the hydration and Unfortunately during the bike ride i drank about half the amount i should have and found myself in a hole of dehydration leading into the run aswell as suffered from some allergy related shortness of breath. I tried my best to play "catch up" on the hydration but it was too late and i knew that. So i focused on the next big goal - and that was that i wasnt going to walk and that i was going to stay positive throughout the run. While the body was shutting down every mile and at one stage i was running 9 min miles, i was able to stay positive throughout. Normally my confidence would take a hit or i would doubt my training or that i could run, but not this time. I had just run a very hilly 10k in Austin just 7 days prior to Galveston,and ran it in 39 min , so i knew the fitness was there. The key is that i just need to nail all the little factors that go into running off the bike successfully, and that day i didn't. Moving on, lesson learnt.

So of course, as soon as that race was over, i got really excited that i would get to try again a short 3 weeks later and try to fix that small part of putting a race together.

In between the two races i did have time to do a 10 mile race in Austin the week before New orleans. These races are something that i am trying to do more of ( especially while the weather is not 100+ degrees out ) to work on pacing and racing the run properly. Something i dont have alot of experience in, so i feel those races are really helping but unfortunately do come with a price. While 10 miles is not that long considering i had just done 13 off the bike 2 weeks prior, my calves definitely took more of a beating being that i was able to run much faster than had i cycled before ( something that i hope will change soon )

New Orleans race day came,and i was super excited since it had turned into a Duathlon because of high winds making it dangerous to swim( turned into a 2 mile run, 52 mile bike, 13.1 mile run ) What i was most excited about was that i was going to get to see other girls on the bike and compare my cycling with theirs out on the course and really observe the effort and strategy that may go on during races which i have never been apart of since i am always playing catch up out of the water and pretty much cycling alone for 56 miles. But this was also my first duathlon, so pacing the first 2 miles was something i was told to be very wary of as to not gas myself out before the long windy bike ahead, especially being that it was a full on head wind going out.

The run started and literally within 15 sec everyone was gone. I was told to stay around 6:30 pace, which i did but definitely had to put any pride i had away, and run by myself trailing everyone by a good minute by the time i got to transition. i did get to my bike with my heart rate in an aerobic zone and under control, so i felt i had done it right and now was ready to go catch everyone ( hopefully ) on the bike.

It definitely helped having a head wind going out, since it kept everyone in range. And i must say, biking with a whole string of girls as far as the eyes could see brought a whole new dynamic to the bike portion. I had that carrot dangling infront of me the whole time, and as soon as i picked off one girl i had my eyes set on the next which was super fun. I found that i had passed about 10 girls by mile 20 which was all headwind at that point and at a turn around point 5 girls were all within a half a mile infront of me( Mirinda, Migali, Amanda being 3 of em - yay ). So i had my eyes set on those 5 girls ahead and felt i would for sure catch them but with the tail wind and the fact they had discs and i had taken mine off, i found myself just keeping the same distance and losing a little ground at some of the faster portions of the course which was too be expected.
I ending up passing 2 of them with about 5 miles to go and knew i was going to be in the 2nd pack and top 10 coming off the bike and ahead of about 12 girls i had passed. So exciting.

I ran out of transition conservatively. I was so tempted to try run for a bit with Caitlin Snow who had gotten off the bike with me, but i knew there was no way ( she ended up running the fastest run of the day ) so i watched her very quickly run away from me and decided to focus on my run and race. The first 4 miles of the 2 loop course i was able to hold my goal pace, but i felt like the tank was hovering on E and completely "wind whipped ", so knew i had to refuel and be conservative not too have too much of a drop off. Unfortunately around the start of the 2nd loop i was barely holding on and had come to a crawl, and being passed by girl after girl did not help either. Never fun when someone comes running by and you have absolutely no way to respond except watch em go. At that point i decided to really slow down through the water stops and get as much water, coke and gels in as i could. That seemed to work and was able to bring the pace back a little the last few miles and really pick it up the last 2.

There was a huge lesson learnt on the run. I had thought the finish line was close to where we came in off the bike, only to find i still had to run almost a whole mile more. So 2 miles out ( i thought 1 mile out ) i kicked it in to finish strong and was able to drop my pace way down as i ran to where i thought the finish line was. As i got there and realized i still had about a mile to go, while suffering and breathing like a wounded animal, i was able to hold onto that pace knowing i was now so close and that the pain would end soon. So instead of the last mile being super fast, i had 2 good finishing miles.

Lesson learnt that we all know but need to put in practice - its all in the mind. And our minds need to give our bodies more credit and belief as to what they can do. I would never have believed i could run that hard without passing out if you had told me, only to then do it and realize that i can always go that little bit further and faster. Heck - maybe alot further and faster.
Think of your run workout and when you have that last 800 or mile repeat on the track. You never think you can do it since you almost passed out after the last one, but since it is the LAST one , you somehow find a way to get it done, and most of the time faster than all the other repeats.

It's ALL in the mind. Now the key is to race 13 miles off the bike HARD, and not just run like i am in cruise control or on survival mode. I need to RACE the run. So that will be my next GOAL. Not Cramping - check. Not walking - check. Hydration and fuel - half a check. RACE THE RUN - TO be determined ( stay tuned )

Oh and get an IV after your race. I ending up needing 3. I have never recovered or felt better after a race. Ever. By the Wednesday after i was knocking off the best workouts of my life, and i wasnt injured. I really thought i had strained my calves during the race since i had pain throughout the run, but weirdly enough, 2 days later, they felt 100 % . I really think the IV helped me not get injured - moisture in the muscles. Makes sense.

All for now. Have Cap Tex Tri on Memorial day next and then a busy June. Will be racing Kansas 70.3 and hopefully Buffalo springs if i am recoverd in time since its two weeks later. Onward....